Jeff Burr’s ‘Puppet Master 4: The Demon’

Well here we go, number 4 in the Puppet Master series and it’s getting a bit easier to watch these. Quality is not always something you can expect but there is never a lack of interesting things to see. Number 4 brings back Mr Toulon played by Guy Rolfe who is a great addition to the cast and brought warmth to the role which helped the shift in tone for film 3. Lets get to the tatties and pies shall we?

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This is a massive puppet of Suketh and I find it hard not to laugh as it waves it arms.

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When you see this shot you should hear Aerosmith singing “Back in the Saddle”

We open up on Suketh who as it turns out is the original holder of the spell to animate inanimate objects. Suketh is pissed since the spell was stolen and has been so flippantly used by humans for all the monkey shines from the previous movies, so he decides that it’s time to send down some of his own 12″ monsters. Back on Earth we find the Bodega Bay Hotel has a new occupant in the form of Rick Myer (Gordon Currie)  A young man working on artificial intelligence systems for a the government and moonlighting as the off season caretaker for the hotel. Rick has his girlfriend Susie over the night but she decides to bring a few friends for an impromptu party during which the Puppets are found, awoken and appear to be in the mood to help. As the demons arrive the Puppets do battle with Suketh’s evil forces while defending the party guests. With the hep of Andre Toulon’s spirit (Guy Rolfe) will Rick be able to save his girlfriend and by extension her friends? What is Suketh doing hiding and not going to Earth himself?

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Puppet Fight!

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That thing looks sharp and deadly but is actually only 12 inches tall.
The good first then we can have a big old shit sandwich 2nd. One good thing is that the characters are a little more like cannon fodder this time around, other than Rick most are cliché horror movie types but the film knows that and moves along briskly without wasting time with exposition. Suketh’s evil monsters are scabby little bastards and while not intimidating they are freaky little things. Guy Rolfe returning is a treat, once again he elevates the series and takes the original Puppet Master from stock German villain into something so much more, the tragic element has been abandoned and he now stands as the Obi-Wan figure promising to train Rick.

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Pinhead is great at working the tip but not so good with the shaft.
The bad and slightly bad. Mr Suketh is a terrible bit of FX work, this massive shambling puppet is one of the worst things in the series and the biggest crime is that he is entirely unnecessary, removed from the plot everything would have been streamlined but included it adds nothing but runtime. In terms of dialogue and writing there could have been a few lines cut or just rewritten to add some finesse to proceedings.

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The last shot is of the puppets waving goodbye and it is spectacular.

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When Suketh is angry you better believe he is going to flail his arms around madly!
In terms of enjoyment this film ranks 2nd of the titles reviewed so far. The series really lacks definition, sometimes being too camp or humorous for horror but not funny enough for comedy, this film is not a victim of that and nicely settles for horror of the House-under-siege variety. I liked it, it’s worth seeing and it gets a Tom Atkins from me, if it was any other series of films I would not rate it so highly but it reached above mediocrity and those are lofty heights for the Puppet Master movies.

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Look, everyone’s favourite puppet! Sexually ambiguous Nazi man person!

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